Weekend Wanderer

Fast Friends in Phoenix

Remember those rich childhood friendships that started on the playground and required no names?

I’m talking about those times you might have needed a swing-pusher, and you became instant friends, bound by a genuine, simple acceptance of one another.

Phoenix was a great place to foster that kind of connection, especially in the beautiful outdoor playground of Sedona. I know they are two separate places, but Phoenix Fit Phonetically (see what I did there?) in my title.

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It was the perfect day for a hike.

We started bright and early, had a little trouble finding the trailhead (really, are you surprised? I’m lost in practically all of my travels), but eventually hit the trail.

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When we made it to the trail head signs, we ran into a young couple who were lost, and asking for directions to the trail to Devil’s Bridge. All we could offer was our genuine sympathy, being in the same position:

“Sorry! We have no idea! …Yeah, I’m from Minnesota…”

We braved the wilderness on our own, striking out on a foot path that looked like a reasonable trail. As we kept going, the trail started dwindling. Good thing Lindsey is a good-natured adventurer!

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My first trail friend!

Eventually, Lindsey and I stopped short as we reached a road, completely befuddled as all-terrain vehicles sped past us.

We weren’t alone for long.

“We hope you know where you’re going, because we are following you!”

Remember that couple at the beginning of the trail? Unfortunately for them, they followed us at a distance, hoping we were kidding and actually knew where we were going. Silly Hikers.

Craig and Joy, our new lost friends

Turns out Craig loves trail-running (a deep level of insanity), and offered to run ahead on the road. Lindsey was the native of the group, so she was trying to find the familiar in our surroundings.

We needed to find the trail. We needed each other.

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The best thing about trail friends? Instant photographers!

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I can’t get over the beauty of these red rock formations!

Eventually we found our way, and we also found companionship in the midday sun.

The natural beauty around us matched the completely natural conversation that flowed between us. Craig made us laugh when he gallantly took the rear as he was the “man of the group,” and Joy talked about her medical practice.

It’s funny how comfortable you can feel with someone you just met. I felt the warmth of their geniality as much as I felt the warmth in the air on that perfect day.

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The view is vastly improved after you’ve been lost for hours!

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We took the road less traveled, and it made all the difference.

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And here it is: Devil’s Bridge!

For hours we talked and hiked, never feeling fatigued mentally or physically (for the most part).

Maybe it was the spectacular views, or the perfect 60 degree weather that made us so at ease, but whatever it was, it was uniquely natural.

We stayed at the Bridge with a group of other hikers, cracking jokes about not falling, taking pictures for each other, and smiling like the sun.

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A stunning hindsight.

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Self portrait under the bridge

Our trip wound down many hours later, and we parted ways as organically as we came together. The one thing I regret is not getting any contact information from our new friends.

Maybe it’s better this way. Now we will always remember our friendship in the golden glow of sunshine, untouched by tragedy or disagreement.

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The only picture I have of Craig and Joy, sadly.

Too often we forget to let our guard down as adults, when it seems as though everyone has a motive.

Just when I find myself becoming cynical, I get a fresh, authentic reminder of that childlike pure friendship that unfolds my soul, and I bask in it.

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I’ll always remember Sedona for its beauty, and for the friendships as open as the broad expanse of sky above us.

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2 thoughts on “Fast Friends in Phoenix

  1. Pingback: More on Friendship, from Phoenix | Weekend Wanderer

  2. Pingback: Retirement Living, in Phoenix | Weekend Wanderer

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